Tag Archives: Autonomy

Doctor’s Mothers and Autonomous Choices Autonomy

Physicians continue to tell patients what they would do if it were their mother. This is just another form of paternalism and disregard for autonomous decision making. Physicians remain exceedingly reluctant to confront the difficult subject of end of life care. The New York times, on January 11, 2009 published an article, by Denise Grady, – “Facing End-of-Life Talks, Doctors Choose to Wait.” Discussing a survey of 4,074 doctors who took care of cancer patients, who had only four to six months left, but was still feeling well. 65 percent said they would talk about the prognosis, but wait to…

The Near Future – maybe Clinical Bioethics

New Reform Medical Center Serving your Community since 2010   Agreement and Release   As you enter this Hospital you understand, acknowledge and agree that this hospital rations medical care and services. This means that the hospital and physicians can determine that you may not be entitled to certain medical treatment, even if it is of benefit to you. Your physicians and hospital may conclude that medical costs to the community outweigh the benefits of the otherwise beneficial medical treatment for you, if one or more of the following criteria exist: Age, (younger than 5 or older than 68); Mental…

The Proper Role of Bioethics Autonomy

In Bioethics we learn that the patient has a right to make autonomous decisions. There has, however, been a bias built into to applicable legislation in many states, which interprets “autonomy” as the dignity to refuse treatment and avoid what is termed a protracted death. This slant on autonomy and the right to refuse treatment can cause some patients to be fearful of having an advanced directive, or, cause death due to withholding of artificial life support when not intended or requested by the patient. It is not, the job of Bioethicists to emphasize the right to refuse treatment, but instead the…

Kidney Transplants and Informed Consent Autonomy

At the 42d meeting of the American Society of Nephrology in San Diego this week, entitled “Renal Week,” Elisa J. Gordon, PhD, MPH, of Northwestern University presented a study on informed consent, that found that  “kidney transplant consent forms are written at considerably higher reading levels than they should be.” She is of the view that consent forms should be written at a 5th to 8th grade reading to ensure that transplant candidates are well informed about transplantation processes, understand the material, and can provide informed consent. My concern is that many physicians see forms as a satisfactory replacement for…

Pay to Play – Cost Containment by Ethics Committees Articles

The Los Angeles Daily News, July 11, 2009, wrote, “One doctor, who chairs the Northridge Hospital Ethics Committee, did raise the important and relevant issue of excessive, costly, end-of-life care that has no potential for significantly extending life. If consumers had to pay a significant copayment, they might not demand unreasonable or unadvisable care." http://www.dailynews.com/editorial/ci_12817975 If this physician actually said this, of which I am doubtful, then it must be pointed out that a decision to terminate life sustaining treatment based on or informed by economic considerations is unethical and of great concern. Discussions of terminating life sustaining treatment must…

A Staged Approach to Withdrawing Life Support Withdrawal/Withholding of Care

A South Korean Ethics Committee uses a staged approach to Withdrawing Life Support In follow up to this blog’s April 23, 2009 post: “Letting the Conscious But Incompetent, Non Terminally Ill, Patient Die.” A South Korean hospital used a staged approach to consider the withdrawal of artificial life support based upon the condition of the patient. On June 11, 2009 an Ethics Committee at the Yonsei University Severance Hospital in Seoul Korea decided to remove a 77-year-old woman in a vegetative state from a respirator in accordance with a Supreme Court ruling.  Severance Hospital President Park Chang-il said:     “Though we…

Daniel Hauser – and Medical Confidentiality Dilemmas in Clinical Bioethics

I agree with the court’s rulings in the case of Daniel Hauser, highlighted in the media recently. In this case there is as absolute need to continue chemotherapy. It should however be pointed out that the Court ignored Mrs. Hauser’s demand for confidentiality and contributed to this case becoming a spectacle in the media and making Mrs. Hauser the focus of overwhelming media attention, pitting her beliefs against most of the country’s. This injudicious conduct may have contributed to the panic of the mother to leave the jurisdiction and hide herself and her son. The legal issues in this case…

Life, for some in Texas, is Cheap Abandonment

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE CHAPTER 166.039. PROCEDURE WHEN PERSON HAS NOT EXECUTED OR ISSUED A DIRECTIVE AND IS INCOMPETENT OR INCAPABLE OF COMMUNICATION For the most vulnerable patients, without friends or family, life for some medical patients in Texas, is cheap.  On vague and specious grounds and without proper oversight or transparency, physicians may withdraw life sustaining treatment from a patient, even if the patient is conscious, talking, and aware of his or her surroundings. This statute allows this to occur if a physician treating the patient concludes that the patient will die within six months and there is no…

Letting the Conscious But Incompetent, Non Terminally Ill, Patient Die Withdrawal/Withholding of Care

It must not be too easy to withhold life sustaining treatment from any patient. When it comes to a conscious patient, who is not suffering from a terminal illness, we have to be unquestionably sure we know what we are doing.      A consulting physician contacted me expressing great concern that a 60 year old female patient who would likely die without surgery was being discharged. He said, “The patient is not terminal and is treatable. She needs surgery to survive – probably amputation of one or both lower extremities. The family wants her to be discharged home for…

Autonomy and Abandonment – Legal and Moral Implications Abandonment

Advance Health Directive: Patient has an advanced health directive, witnessed, notarized and in the format of a legal document done by his attorney, rejecting treatment if he has a terminal condition with the probability of death within a few months; and/or an irreversible condition requiring artificial life support. Patient’s daughter is designated as surrogate. The document is notarized. This 84 year old man is admitted for pneumonia; dementia; depression; anemia; malnutrition; renal failure, and hypernaturemia. History: Dysphasia, anorexia, ataxia, poor intake, altered level of consciousness, restless, hypotensive, shortness of breath, bilateral rales. He is unable to give any history himself….